Virginia Joins Trinity Guardrails Whistleblower Lawsuit

Virginia Joins Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Trinity for Faulty Guardrails

guardrailsVirginia Attorney General Mark Herring has added the state to a whistleblower lawsuit against Trinity Industries and Trinity Highway Products for selling faulty guardrails that had not passed federal testing.

“It is shocking that a company would think they could secretly modify a safety device in a way that may actually pose a threat to Virginia motorists,” Attorney General Herring said in a press release. “Trinity had an obligation to test and seek approval for its equipment, but instead, they sold the Commonwealth thousands of unapproved products that had not been properly tested to ensure they would keep motorists safe.”

On October 20th, Trinity Industries was slapped with a $175 million verdict by a Texas court, which ruled against the guardrail manufacturer in a whistleblower lawsuit brought forward by Joshua Harman. Harman accused the company of changing the design of their guardrails without informing the Federal Highway Administration, which is responsible for checking the safety of such products. Trinity then sold the modified guardrails, beginning in 2005, to states that received federal funding.

However, the changes to the design of the guardrails made them defective products – rather than stopping cars in a crash, the steel rails could bend and spear drivers or passengers. At least 14 personal injury lawsuits blame the guardrails for severe car crash injuries, including 5 deaths.

After the Texas verdict, Trinity Industries has finally agreed to halt manufacturing of the defective products and allow federal safety regulators to test their new guardrail design.

The Virginia lawsuit is the fourth whistleblower lawsuit involving the faulty guardrails.

Trinity spokesman Jeff Eller said the company is “surprised and deeply disappointed” that the state “chose the lawsuit path.”

“We have given them all the data they requested,” he said in an email. “We will continue to work with them. We will defend ourselves fully against these allegations.”

A separate whistleblower lawsuit has been filed by several counties in Illinois against Trinity for selling faulty guardrails that failed to protect the counties’ residents.

More than 30 states, including Virginia, have banned Trinity’s products until further notice.

“Virginia’s suit follows a series of accidents across the country involving serious injury or death in which the modified guardrail end treatments appear to have malfunctioned,” read part of a press release from Herring’s office.

“VDOT is preparing a contingency plan to identify and replace these products, if necessary and appropriate testing and analysis shows them to be unsafe,” Herring said. “If any replacements must occur, we’re going to make sure that Trinity, not Virginia taxpayers, pay the bill.”

Defective Products Can Lead to Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

The unexpected loss of a loved is a very painful experience.  It leaves family members with sudden expenses such as hospital bills, and funeral costs. If the loss is due to an individual or business’s negligence, the loss can feel even worse. Family members feel like they have nowhere to turn for solace or closure.

While you focus on getting through this tough experience, we will focus on protecting your rights. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed as the result of a defective product, DUI, negligent business, or car accident, you may have a personal injury or wrongful death case. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Do not hesitate to contact us for help. 803.252.4800

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